Sarah Gray Rafferty (born December 6, 1972) is an American television and film actress. She is known mainly for her role as Donna Roberta Paulsen on the USA Network legal drama Suits. Sarah’s character is one of the most formidable minds at their law firm, Pearson Hardman. With her razor sharp wit and knowledge of all the firm’s happenings, Donna is admired and feared by everyone there, and she’s not afraid to wield that power when it suits her needs. The hit show aired for nine season and ended in 2019.
Rafferty grew up as the youngest of four daughters in the Riverside neighborhood of Greenwich, Connecticut. She credits her mother, Mary Lee Rafferty, and her father, Michael Griffin Rafferty Jr., for cultivating her passion for the arts. Her sisters are Maura, Ann, and Connie.
While still in prep school, at Phillips Academy in Andover (Massachusetts), Sarah was bitten by the acting bug. When her drama teacher caught her cutting across his lawn in an effort not to be late for field hockey practice, he told her to skip practice and join the cast of “Richard III,” and thus began her adoration of acting.
Sarah decided to take her love for this craft and educate herself by double majoring in English and Theatre at Hamilton College, studying theatre abroad in London and Oxford during her junior year, and, after graduating magna cum laude from Hamilton, she went on to study at Yale Drama school. Her passion for learning about the arts was supported by her parents; her mother, the Chairwoman of the English Department at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich, CT, and her father, an accomplished painter.
Her education and natural talent clearly paid off. In addition to starring on USA Network’s “Suits,”, she has appeared in numerous TV series such as “Law and Order,” “Six Feet Under,” “Brothers & Sisters“, “Samantha Who?“. “Without A Trace“, “CSI: Miami“, “Bones” and “Grey’s Anatomys” and feature films including: “Four Single Fathers” and “Falling For Grace,” along with countless professional stage productions like “Gemini” and “As You Like It“.
In addition to acting, Rafferty lends a hand to many causes including the Alzheimer’s Association and The Brain Project. Rafferty hosted the annual Night at Sardi‘s event held in LA for two consecutive years, which benefited the support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. Rafferty also takes on a role as an ambassador for the newly founded organization, The Brain Project. The goal of TBP is to raise funds through provoking works of art for Baycrest Health Sciences, a world leader in brain health and aging.
Rafferty met her Finnish husband Santtu Seppälä, a stock research analyst in the asset management unit of Lazard Frères & Company in New York, and they were married on June 23, 2001, at the Roman Catholic church of St. Mary in Greenwich, Connecticut. The couple has two daughters, Oona Gray (b. 22 October 2007) and Iris Friday (b. January 2012).